G’day guys. We have another stronger whiskey here on the blog, a bottle that is always welcome. Especially in these circumstances. You saw my last unofficial post, and I think I’ll leave it at that. But as the song goes – “the only thing that keeps me from the devil is another glass of that good old Tennessee”
So we all know Tennessee whiskey. Filtered through charcoal by definition. We won’t pretend your mind didn’t just jump to Jack Daniels Old No. 7. The covergirl Tennessee whiskey. Don’t buy into the stigma that because a label is hugely popular it can’t be good too, Jack Daniels does indeed make more than a few perfectly drinkable undiluted bottles. As you would expect, these whiskies grew to fame for a reason, obviously. But why should we limit ourselves to the one label when there are more to be discovered? Another label named after it’s founder – George A. Dickel. A lot of people are aware of the folklore of the man Jack Daniels who created the whiskey, so here is the man behind the other bottle. George Adam Dickel, born Febuary eighteen-eighteen, in Grünberg, Germany. Believed to be the son of the Deutsche cooper Anton Fischer who made wine barrels for a living. In eighteen-forty-four he migrated to Nashville, and by the eighteen-fifties was working as a cobbler, until he started selling liquor in eighteen-sixty-one. With the advent of the American Civil War, the town was occupied with the Union soldiers and banned sales of liquor. It was never proven that Dickel was involved with smuggling liquor, but the family Schwabs that Dickel was known for being involved with, was. At the end of the war, Dickel opened his own liquor store. And then in eighteen-sixty-seven, started blending his own whisky. Though in eighteen-sixty-seven he was charged for rectifying liquor without a license, his business continued to grow regardless. And in the year eighteen-seventy, Dickel officially begun to sell his own wholesale label whisky. Here is a real point of difference from the norm. Traditionally, American whiskies are made straight, that is to say they are all made by the same distillery. The practice of buying whisky (note the difference in spelling too) straight from different distilleries and blending them under your own label is a practice normally conducted by European labels; Scotch, Irish whiskeys and whathaveyou. And is unusual for an American label. A store made product that sold in abundance alongside the local ales and lagers in the store from the neighboring area of Nashville, in addition to wines and brandies. Proceeding onwards and upwards until in eighteen-seventy-four a fire swept through Market Street where Dickel and Company was located and destroyed it’s headquarters. Narrowly missing it’s stock warehouse that held inside it at the time sixty thousand dollars worth of whisky…that later was destroyed by a separate fire in eighteen-eighty-one. Destroying seventy-five thousand dollars worth of whisky, luckily most was insured. After the second fire, a five-story headquarters was built for Dickel and Company in Market Street. The label continued proceeding forward, until in eighteen-eighty-six, as if to mirror the unfortunate passing of Jack Daniels, Dickel was badly injured horse riding. He never fully recovered from the incident. He died in eighteen-ninety-four. Leaving the company in the hands of his then brother-in-law, Victor Shwab (earlier having removed the “c” from his surname to become more American). From here the label continued forwards, halted only by the nation wide drought brought on by the Prohibition Era. During this time, the state of Tennessee enacted Prohibition in nineteen-ten, forcing the Dickel and Company store to relocate to the Stitzel Distillery in Louisville, Kentucky. Operating until Kentucky too enacted Prohibition in nineteen-seventeen. After the repeal, the whisky was sold under the name of Geo. A. Dickel’s Cascade Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky. And then in nineteen-fifty-six, the then owner, the Schenley Distilling Company attempted to purchase the Jack Daniels label. And when this was refused, they went to competition with them.
So, George A. Dickel’s No. 12 Tennessee Sour Mash Whisky. The Tennessee whiskey birthed by a German, that identifies itself as a Scotch, and was briefly a bourbon. A liquor with a very varied background. The bottle is not unlike any other bottle of American whiskey. Drawing on American whiskey’s image of Westerns, with a neatly appointed bottle with writing in both cursive and Western-themed fonts. I pull the cork free, expecting the same sweet sugary charcoal scent as Jack Daniels. Instead, I receives full-bodied nose of sour mash, and a wine-like yeast. Freed up in the open air of a glass, the whisky lets off it’s character. The nose, subtle but not illusive. Defined and warm. The taste is sour and tannic, full of heat and char. Giving food advice on this site usually isn’t my game, but this stuff is begging to be in the company of some charcoal grilled red meat. Sweet when it wants to be, fiery when the same.
To summarize: This is a welcome relief after the letdown of the Hogs 3 (turning out to be tasteless, watery and absent of texture). This whisky has a lot of different aspects to it. A lot of depth, a lot of characteristics. Cheers